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Healthwatch 16: Geisinger doctor discusses monkeypox

The U.S. has reported nearly 6,000 cases since May. More than 160 of those cases are in Pennsylvania.

DANVILLE, Pa. — Monkeypox is not a new virus, but it is not typically found in the United States. The first U.S. case was reported in Boston in May. Monkeypox has been spreading fast ever since. The World Health Organization recently declared it a global health emergency.

"We're close to almost 6,000 cases here in the United States with a little over 160 here in Pennsylvania," said Dr. Alison Brodginski, Geisinger's northeast director of infectious diseases.

While Geisinger would not say how many monkeypox cases it has seen, the health system confirmed three last week. Dr. Brodginski says monkeypox is primarily spread through skin-to-skin contact, but it is not a sexually transmitted disease.

"If you are in contact with someone who has the active lesions and you are touching those lesions, that's basically what it takes to acquire the virus."

While the majority of the patients diagnosed with monkeypox identify as gay men, Dr. Brodginski says the virus does not discriminate. There are confirmed cases in women and children.

"This is something, again, that if you come into close contact with those lesions or if you have very close contact with respiratory secretions, you are at risk for acquiring monkeypox."

Monkeypox is rarely fatal, and it is preventable.

"If you are around someone that is not feeling well or has a rash-like presentation, that again you're very cautious and understanding that that can potentially be monkeypox."

If you are concerned you have monkeypox or were in contact with someone who does, you are advised to call your doctor.

Credit: WNEP

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